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Articles tagged with: All about Me

A Post About Nothing In Particular.

on Wednesday, 04 March 2015.

Do you know sometimes when you have lots of rambling thoughts and things to say, but they don't quite warrant enough space for a post solely on their own?  That's sort of how I am feeling.  In fact that's kind of how my whole mind is feeling at the moment- it's jumbled up, full of random thoughts and I don't seem to be able to focus on anything in particular depth.  

As a family we are about to embark on some seriously exciting and scary changes.  On Friday morning my husband handed his notice in to his work.  He is our main breadwinner and the one secure salary that we have, but as of eight weeks time when his notice period finishes, he will be joining me in the world of working for yourself.  He has worked on freelance projects in his spare time on and off for a long time, but an unexpected opportunity came up for him to have a six month contract to do some work with a company and after much discussion we decided that it was too good to pass up.  It means that he has a certain amount of stability for six months and it gives him time to build a name for himself, before he is very much on his own and it is up to him to find new clients.  We are actually starting a business together- our skills very much go hand in hand, he is a designer, I work in online marketing, and so it makes sense to combine the two.  I have my freelance life already so that won't change, but I will become a partner in his new company too- it's all very official and exciting, but incredibly scary too.  

I am so excited for him and I am excited for our family.  It isn't something we have entered in to lightly, after all we have two small children and a mortgage to pay.  But if he didn't do it now he would have always been wondering 'what if?'  I know myself, on even a small level, how hard the freelance lifestyle can be sometimes.  Some months I worry about money non stop and some months I have lots coming in- it's certainly unstable at times.  But he is very ambitious and he has his head switched on so I know he will be ok.  It feels like the right step, albeit a slightly daunting one.  

We have decided for six months or so that he will work from home, so it means that it is even more necessary to get our new study done now.  Then after that he may look into getting a little office somewhere.  It is going to take a while to adjust to him being at home, I do rely on him a lot when he is here, so I know that I am going to have to bite my tongue and not ask him to help me with things when he should be working.  The girls and I are out and about most mornings on the days they aren't at nursery anyway, and then on the days when they are we can sit and work together.  I am looking forward to having him home with me, but it's going to take a little getting used to.

IMG 0929

Unrelated photo, but I just love this one of myself and my big girl.

 

Aside from that exciting and rather life changing news, I have been thinking a lot recently about the fact that I don't ever really switch off.  I don't just mean from my 'online life', I mean from life in general.  My brain seems to whirl constantly with thoughts, ideas and just general things, and I never seem to be able to relax anymore.  Even when I am supposed to be relaxing, say for example in the evenings when I am not doing blog stuff, I am looking at my phone- I even take it in the bath.  It is such a stimulus and I have been thinking a lot lately that I need to get a better balance.  The other evening Mr E and I watched a film called 'Disconnect'- it's a drama/thriller all about life online (I definitely recommend watching it, it gave me chills), and that also really made us both think about the way in which social media especially has crept into our lives- how we will occasionally absentmindedly check our phones when we are sat having dinner- what a bad example to set to our girls.  I am by no means terrible or the worst out there, but I do flick and waste a lot of time on social media (especially you instagram!) when I am not even actually responding or commenting on anything.  It's so hard when your work and hobby are all part of being online, but I don't think that what I am doing is all that healthy.

I have decided to make little changes just to try and help me switch off more than I do at the moment.  The biggest one is that Mr E and I are going back to our regularly weekly 'date night'. We started this last year and loved it, but slowly we allowed phone's to creep back in- each week it's someone's turn to 'host' it- it might be make a nice dinner, choose a nice film to watch, or plan a little surprise for the other person, but we make one rule- absolutely no technology whatsoever. (bar the TV!)  I turn my phone off and that's it for the evening.  While I probably only go on my laptop maybe once or twice in the week, as I said before I am on my phone far too much, and our date night is our way of spending quality time together rather than just being semi engaged in each other while spending time on our computers or phones.  

My other big thing is that I have been going to bed far too late.  I have decided that I am going to go to bed at a sensible (ish) time each night and make sure I don't look at my phone in bed, I am going to spend at least half an hour each night reading my book and winding down.  Obviously a phone or iPad is a stimulus and I wonder if that's another reason I don't sleep that well.  I used to read a book a week before children and blogging came into my life, and so this is something I am going to make sure I do every night in the hope that it relaxes me a bit more and helps me switch off.  I am pretty good at not really checking my phone at the weekend as that is our family time, bar putting the odd instagram photo on, but I want to try and reinforce this a little more too.

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Last weekend I went away on a girly weekend with three of my lovely friends Lucy, Morgana and Jenny.  They are all friends that I made via blogging, but friends that I now consider to be close 'real life' friends as well.  I had such a lovely few days, it was the longest I spent away from the girls, and although I missed them terribly, I really needed it.  It was wonderful to be in the company of such kind, yet also inspiring women, and going away and having a bit of girl time and head space made me realise that I need to switch off more and try different ways of relaxing.  On one of the days we went to a yoga class and while Jenny and Lucy often do yoga, Morgana and I were a little cynical- but I actually really loved it and it did help me relax and unwind.  I am going to start trying to do the odd You Tube yoga session in the evenings to help me unwind before bed.  I do online kettlebell workouts and run in the evening a couple of times a week though too, so it's trying to fit it all in.  

What is it about a girly weekend that's good for the soul though?  I came away feeling really inspired in all manner of different ways- inspired by mine and Mr E's new business due to Morgana and her dreams for her shop Little and Fierce, inspired by Jenny and how organised and driven she is, and inspired by Lucy and her ability to switch off and not let things bother her. (oh and inspired by her amazing Mexican Soup recipe too- who would have ever thought I would be inspired to get in the kitchen!)  We laughed non stop, confided in each other and chatting about deep and meaningful stuff- I feel so lucky to have met them all.

friendships

Last year I was heavily involved in my fitness mission and that has helped me feel like a new person.  But since Christmas and our holiday, old habits have been creeping back in and although I did a bit of exercise, I stopped running.  I found myself getting lethargic and a bit snappy, while also putting on a bit of weight as although I was still eating reasonably healthily, I was letting myself have a lot more sweet treats again.  About three weeks ago I decided that I needed to stop or I would end up going back to my old ways.  I have started running again, even joining a running club.  Yesterday morning I got up at 5am and went for a ten mile run- I must be mad.  It's so easy to get back into the habit though, and now I am back training for five races this year- I am also determined to get some ab muscles for the summer!  Excercise makes me feel so much more confident and eating better makes me feel good too. (I will do a fitness update soon!)  I also had my hair cut the other day, I have had my hair the same for so long now, just varying shades of brown, but this time I had some ombre put in the ends- I have been meaning to do it for about two years- and I am really pleased with it.  There's nothing like a slight change of style to help renew a bit of confidence.

ombre hair

New hair. Stupid pose. Never been any good at selfies. ;) 

 

This post doesn't really have any sort of purpose but it was therapeutic writing it all down and giving a bit of a life update!  I feel so genuinely lucky to have the opportunity to do the work I do, both my freelance work and of course blog things as well, and I really am so happy with our life and my little family.  I just want to make simple changes in order to be a better Mummy, wife and become even happier and more motivated in all aspects of my life.  

 

 

 

 

 

A Year Of Fitness...

on Wednesday, 07 January 2015.

On January 1st last year I set myself a challenge.  To lose weight, get healthier and improve my fitness levels.  I was stuck in a rut- eating unhealthily, not doing any exercise at all, and generally not feeling particularly nice about myself.  I have never been overweight, but I had a spare tyre round my waist and I just didn't feel nice in clothes at all.  I had got to the point where I wasn't making any effort with my appearance, I don't remember the last time I bought any clothes and even when I did I still felt unconfident.  We had got into a habit of eating a lot of rubbish, we would eat chocolate, ice cream or desserts every evening, I would eat paninis and chips when I was out with friends at soft play and I would pile my plate high with food in the evening, my appetite even surpassing my husbands.

Until this year I have never ever stuck at a fitness plan or done any regular exercise.  Even at school, I was never really sporty and preferred to hide in our common room and paint my nails than go and do netball and hockey.  At university and in my early 20's I lost count of the amount of times I joined a gym only to go twice and then never return.  I just didn't have the motivation to do it.  But on the 1st January 2014 something inside me made me decide to start a fitness mission.  And this time for whatever reason it was different.

I took a photo of myself on January 1st 2014 as motivation to see if I could see any results and that photo still makes me feel really sad.  It's not like I am particularly overweight but I just look unhealthy- it can definitely only be described as a spare tyre round my middle.  I started off in January joining a gym with my sister.  We went a few times, but I don't know what it is but I just don't feel 100% comfortable at the gym.  So instead we went for a run one evening.  And bizzarely I absolutely loved it. I downloaded the Nike Running app and loved getting an instant result as to how far and fast I was running.  I started off running just half a mile, then a mile then setting myself a goal to work up to three. Then five.  Then a little bit more.  And even though it was winter and freezing, I still did it.  Eventually I cancelled the gym membership and just carried on with my running.  I started off going three to four times a week, just short distances and I loved beating my times and the way it motivated me.

myfitnessmissionmarch

(Photos from March)

The next thing was my stomach area.  I had two large 9lb babies, both by c-section and my core was just incredibly weak.  My tummy stuck out like I was about 12 weeks pregnant.  After some research online I found out I had a diastasis recti, which basically is separation of the ab muscles after pregnancy.  I did a simple exercise which I found online and found that my separation was about 4-5 cm, not the worst ever but certainly something that needed improving.  So I set about doing exercises to try and strenghten my core.  The worst thing you can do for ab separation is things like sit up's as they can make it worse, so I researched online and did simple exercises twice or three times a week at first to strengthen them.  It took quite a while but after about six months I started to notice a difference.  Now, it's not perfect, its about 1-2 cm so I still have a bit of a bulge and gap but it is a lot better than it was.

In terms of food, to begin with I really watched what I ate.  I cut down on all chocolate and sweet things and ate a lot healthier in the evening.  But the main thing I did was eat smaller portions.  Instead of a greasy panini and chips for lunch I would have a jacket potato or beans on toast (baked beans- best thing ever in terms of being tasty and low in fat!)  I measured myself at the end of each month and was excited to actually see some results for the first time ever, with my greatest loss in weight in the first month.  It was definitely addictive.  I began signing up to running races in the future as a motivator, with a 10k race in the June, a half marathon in the August and another half marathon in the October.  I also used my husband's kettlebells for a few minutes once or twice a week too.

After losing the initial weight I started to relax a little.  I had sweet treats, still ate chocolate a few times a week, and ate the things I enjoyed, I just ate them in moderation and if I knew I was going out for dinner and wanted to eat lots, then I would make sure I had a healthy meal the night before.  We went on holiday to Rhodes in June and I ate so much for the week, but I also got up early three times and went to our hotel gym.  I completed my first half marathon in August, something which I was incredibly proud of and then I did another one in October too.  I got a little bit lazy in writing my fitness mission posts each month, but I still made sure I stuck to it, although I wasn't as strict as I was before.  Nowadays I run about once or twice a week, mainly because it is so cold at the moment and I am really busy with my freelance work.  

great eastern run2

I definitely go through stages where I am really motivated and then weeks when I am not so much.  However in the whole year the longest I haven't run has only been about a period of two and a half weeks which has been recently over Christmas.  I also have been eating out a lot and of course eating all the festive food, so I have put on a few pounds and lost some definition in my stomach muscles- it is so easy to get out of the habit, but the weight I am at now is actually the most comfortable for me.  It is a struggle to get out the door sometimes but towards the end of the year, I stopped trying to get faster and began running with a good friend of mine, it's great as in the Winter even though I am not going as fast as I normally would, I am chatting and enjoying each run.  The start of the year was all about me beating my personal bests whereas the end of the year I have just been running to keep fit.

I am still eating fairly healthily but I do still eat even a small sweet treat most days, even if that is just a chocolate biscuit, a couple of pieces of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream.  I find if I cut it out completely then I end up wanting it so much more so I think it's best to eat in moderation.  I started the year drinking a lot of water, but over the last few months I have got terrible, I barely even drink a glass a day and I have started drinking even more diet coke than I used to- I really need to try and cut down, while I won't be able to stop drinking it completely, if I can drink more water then I won't feel so guilty about drinking it.  I am useless at drinking water so this is something I really need to try and improve on.

 

My results of my fitness mission after a whole year are...

Weight Loss- 2 stone exactly (although I have added about 4 pounds over Christmas)

Inches Lost- 7 inches from around my waist.

Running achivements- 2 half marathons, 1 10k race.  My fastest half marathon time is 1.51.  

 

a year of fitness


Here is a before and after photo to compare.

 

So what do I want for 2015?  Well I have got a little lazy the last few months and so I want to try and get more motivated again.  I want to run at least twice a week, back in the summer I managed to get quite good tummy muscles, so I want to work hard on doing exercises at home to work on that as it is still the part of me that I feel most self conscious about.  I have a wobbly bit of excess skin at the bottom from where I had my two c-sections and I know I won't be able to get rid of that, but I would like to tone up a little more.  Also where I have lost weight I now literally have no bottom, so I would like to try and tone and firm that a little more- the only problem is I literally cannot stand squats which I believe is the best way to do that.  I don't need to lose anymore weight but I want to maintain the weight I am now.

Running wise, I have signed up to two more half marathons- one in March and one in October, but I want to look and try and do a couple more as well.  I did something crazy and signed up to the full Brighton Marathon which is in April, but I am now wondering whether to defer it until 2016.  I just feel like I am not in the right place to try and run a 26 mile race- I am busier than ever with work and I want to enjoy these last few months before Mads goes to school.  Also we have a fair few exciting things booked because we are trying to get them in before she goes to school in September, so I just worry I won't be able to commit to training for it.  I almost feel like I am cheating myself by not doing it, but I will still make sure I do lots of other races instead, and hopefully I can do that one in 2016.  It's just such a commitment and I don't feel ready for it to be honest.

I am going to drink more water as well and try and cut down on diet coke, and try and perhaps get back into the frame of mind of not eating too much rubbish as I have definitely got worse and into bad habits again over the last few months.  That said, fitness and this way of thinking is a way of life for me now so I don't worry that I will completely fall of the wagon.  Above all I am incredibly, incredibly proud of myself for sticking at my fitness mission for this year, it has changed my life and I hope that I will continue in 2015!

 

NB: This is just my own personal fitness journey- I have no idea if it's the way you should do things, but it's how I managed to lose weight and get fitter.  I am not an expert and don't really have a clue what I am doing but I wanted to share my year of fitness in case it helps or inspires anyone else.  

 

*****

 

You can see all my fitness posts from the last year below-

My First Half Marathon.

My Fitness Mission- July. 

 My Fitness Mission- June.

My Fitness Mission- May.

Some Questions About Running.

My Fitness Mission- April.

My Fitness Mission- March.

Run, Run, Run.

My Fitness Mission- February.

My Fitness Mission- January.

 

 

 

A Day Trip To Palma With Thomson Airways- A Flight On The 787 Dreamliner

on Tuesday, 14 October 2014.

Anyone who regularly reads my blog will know that I am obsessed with travel.  Before our two little ladies came along, any extra money we had would be saved towards our next weekend away or holiday.  I even decided after university that I wanted to work in the travel industry, specialising in online marketing for a large online hotel reservations website for six years until I had Mads.  

As such I have been lucky enough to travel to a fair few places in this big wide world of ours-   Thailand, New York, Barbados and Mexico being just a few of them.  However there is one thing that you might not know about me- I really don't like flying!  It wouldn't ever stop me going away but I have never particularly enjoyed it and since I had the girls I have got worse.  I really am not a good flyer at all- I feel uncomfortable in the air and get anxious before I am due to travel.

Therefore when Thomson Airways invited me to go on a day trip to Palma in Majorca on their new 787 Dreamliner, I originally jumped at the chance to experience it.  But as the time drew nearer I wondered whether two flights in a day might not be the best thing for someone who isn't particuarly keen on flying.  I need not have worried, I had the most amazing day courtesy of Thomson, and they actually have helped me with my flying nerves a little as well.

Here are some phone photos of our fantastic day to Palma, I so wish I had bought my big camera...

a trip to palma1

We were greeted in Gatwick airport by some of the Thomson team- and were excited to get aboard the 787 Dreamliner, alongside a few other bloggers and some journalists.  Thomson were one of the first companies in the UK to fly the jet- a state of the art plane that is changing the future of travel.

a trip to palma2

The weather in the UK was particularly horrendous on Wednesday last week- it made our adventure seem even more special!

a trip to palma3

We were in premium economy on board the Dreamliner, but all passengers can expect some wonderful features on board- including bigger seats, a quieter flight (so much quieter!), more oxygen, and a fantastic entertainment package.  I only wish I wasn't feeling poorly so I could have indulged in a morning glass of champagne!

a trip to palma4

The Dreamliner has mood lighting, which means it can be in tune with your body clock for day and dusk.  But it also can do a pretty cool special effects lighting show too.  It's like a disco on a plane!  

a trip to palma5

Best plane breakfast ever!  While eating the delicious breakfasts in the air, we learnt all about Thomson Airway's plans for the future of holiday travel.  Some exciting features in the pipeline including family zone seating, (similar to that on a train with a table in the middle) couple pods, specially trained kids club flight attendants and a beach bar for premium economy passengers.  All the ideas sound incredibly exciting and I can't wait to see them in action.

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My lovely seat partner, the gorgeous Xanthe.

Katie-Cockpit-2

We got a chance to go in the cockpit which was exciting (like when you were allowed to years ago!) and we got plenty of time to chat to the MD of Thomson Airways, Captain John Murphy, who was really passionate about their upcoming plans.  It was also great to chat to him about flying, and it was really interesting to chat to him about the Dreamliner and Thomson in general.

a trip to palma14

An amazing flight on the Dreamliner and we were greeted by blue skies on arrival in Palma.  Such a welcome change from the rain back home. 

a trip to palma15

Not a bad place to go for lunch- we went to a lovely restaurant overlooking Palma harbour.

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 It was great chatting to the people on my table over lunch and getting to know more about TUI and their respective brands.

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Lunch was amazing, I had perfectly cooked steak for my main course and I may have eaten one of each of these desserts.  If you are in Palma then the restaurant Ca n'eduardo is well worth visiting.

a trip to palma8

After lunch we had some time to wander around Palma for a bit- myself and lovely Alison headed down to the Marina with some of the other ladies.  It was so nice to feel the sun on our shoulders and Palma really is a beautiful city- I wish there had been longer to explore.

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It was so lovely to spend some quality time with this lady.  I would definitely recommend going to the harbour if you go as it was great seeing all the big yachts and fishing boats side by side.

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Sunshine selfies.

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It was so nice to get in the sun, even for a few hours, especially as the weather has been so horrible here the last few days.

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Back on board the Dreamliner with the other bloggers on our trip- Alison, Nicky from Thomson, Xanthe, Poppy, Daisy and Joelle.

a trip to palma9

 As part of their premium economy service Thomson offer a delicious warm cookie, a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows and a REAL duvet which was an absolute treat.  The flight home was a lot quieter with not so much chatting, and as I snuggled down I realised it is the most relaxed I have felt on a flight in years.  I really felt calm and actually enjoyed my time in the air.

 

All in all it was a fantastic day, such an adventure and I loved every minute of it.  Thomson have some really impressive plans ahead for the future and have a five year plan to become 'the holiday airline.'  From flying to new destinations, such as Costa Rica and parts of the Caribbean such as Antigua and St Lucia, (yes please!) to a completely personalised service with an iPad enabled crew, the plans definitely seem exciting, especially for parents travelling with children.  

It's certainly not every day you fly over 1000 miles away for lunch, but it was such a treat from start to finish.  A massive thanks to Thomson for a truly wonderful day with some great people.

 

NB.  I wasn't asked to write about our time in Palma but I had such a great time I just had to share!

'My Fitness Mission'- June.

on Tuesday, 08 July 2014.

I am interrupting my week or so of holiday posts to post my latest fitness mission update.  When I started trying to get fit back in January, I didn't really deep down think I would stick at it. Pessimistic perhaps but after many wasted gym memberships, two day 'diets' and numerous 'I will start tomorrow's', I wasn't holding out much hope.  But June has been and gone and I have managed to stick at it for the last six months, I am really proud of myself and it definitely has changed my life for the better.  I feel the healthiest I have ever been which is saying something.

Back on the 1st January 2014 I snapped a couple of photos of myself in the mirror with my iPhone.  I wasn't ever planning on sharing them, it was mainly so I could look back and see whether I could notice any difference as the months went past.  However I am being brave and sharing them on here, as I think it just goes to show what a difference six months can make.  I am really nervous, after all it's not every day you show your wobbly bits to the internet, but hopefully it will inspire other people who are thinking about trying to get fitter or feel better about themselves.

six months of fitness

(Note to self- Must remember to clean mirror!)

I have never been overweight but as you can see from the photos I had what you can only describe as a spare tyre round my tummy.  A bit of it was still excess baby weight, but it mainly was from having an unhealthy lifestyle- I would eat chocolate at least twice a day, sharing a large treat bag with Mr E almost every night. In all I have lost a stone and a half, although this fluctuates by a couple of pounds each month if I over indulge or don't do as much exercise.  I have also lost almost 6 and a half inches from my waist.  I am shocked by the change in the two photographs as obviously you don't see the change gradually.  It really has made a difference to my life- I have a lot more energy, I feel healthier, am enjoying buying clothes again and just generally feel happier as well.  Plus I have gained a new hobby when it comes to running, although some months I enjoy it more than others.

Here is how I got on in June...

 

Exercise

 

June has been a bit of a strange month when it comes to exercise.  On one hand, I have not done anywhere near as much running as I would have liked to, mainly because my knee has been playing up so I have had to rest it for a few days inbetween each run, but on the other hand I have experienced some new milestones.  On Father's Day I took part in my first ever race- a local 10k race.      I was so nervous beforehand, but I managed to complete it in 51 minutes 30, which is a new personal record for me.  I was 32nd out of 203 females running in the race and 202nd out of all 518 runners, so I was pretty pleased with myself.

However I have really only been getting out for a run about once a week which isn't ideal, although I have been doing the odd kettlebell workout at home too.  While we were on holiday last week, I impressed myself by getting up early in the morning and going to the gym on four different occasions, although I only did about twenty minutes on the treadmill as it was so hot!

My half marathon is next month and I am terribly nervous as I really haven't been training properly and I still have only done 8 miles at the most.  Let's hope it goes ok!

 

Food.

 

June has not been great in terms of eating, some days I have been good, but on the whole we have eaten out way too much.  I also went on holiday to Rhodes and as anyone who is trying to be good knows, a holiday is bound to throw a spanner in the works.  I drank cocktails every night, ate numerous ice creams and over indulged far too much in the evening buffet.  The puddings each night were divine- yummy creme brulees, creamy mousses and chocolate cake, and as I was on holiday I just couldn't resist filling my plate once. (or twice!)

 I am not strict enough to weigh myself (I don't have scales in my house so only do it when I go somewhere where there are some!) but I can tell that my jeans are a little tight so I think I am going to have to work a little harder this month.  That is my main problem- I just cannot resist sweet treats if they are in front of me. 


Overall.


One of the main reasons I started this fitness mission back in January was because I wanted to feel comfortable in a bikini on our holiday.  And while I still didn't feel completely comfortable as I do still have a wobbly tummy at the bottom, I embraced it and wore one for the first time since Mads was born three and a half years ago.  I know I won't have the figure that I had in my early 20's again, having my little ladies has changed my body, but I finally feel comfortable enough (sometimes) in my own skin to realise that's ok.  I made two little humans and as long as I eat healthily most of the time, do some exercise at least a couple of times a week and have a postive outlook, then I will feel pretty good. 

I wonder what the next six months will bring!

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